Facebook makes changes to 'Pages' - what this means for local councils

Over the last few weeks Facebook has been switching Business Pages to a ‘new Page Experience’. Business Pages, or just ‘Pages’, are used by councils across the country as their official Facebook presence.

Many parish and town councils with a Facebook Page will have been automatically switched. If you go to your Page you might notice that things are a little different.

If you are on your Page and things have changed – don’t panic.

We have provided a quick summary in this blog post for parish and town councils, outlining the main changes and what they mean for your council’s Facebook page.

Likes are gone

Let’s start off with the biggest change. Facebook Page ‘Likes’ have disappeared. The only thing that matters now is ‘Followers’. This change was made because in part because it was confusing to have to decide whether you wanted to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ a Page. 

People who were following your Page before should still be getting content in their news feeds. 

However, if someone ‘liked’ your old style Page, but did not follow it, they will not be automatically converted to a ‘follower’ on the new Page.

Other changes

Broadly speaking the changes can be summarised as:

  • The front-end: what your residents can see
  • The back-end: what you and anyone else who manages your page can see

Before we take a quick look at the changes please note this is just what we have spotted so far. If there is something you spot that isn’t included below please let us know!

Changes to the front-end

Fortunately there aren’t that many changes to the way that Page’s look to the average user of Facebook. 

Let’s take a quick look at the changes in no particular order:

  • ‘Likes’ are gone! The biggest change is that ‘likes’ for your Page are now gone. There is now a permanent ‘Follow’ button at the top right hand corner of the Page
  • There is still an option to have a ‘Call to Action’ button. This is a really useful development. Anyone whose ‘Call to Action’ button was set to ‘Follow’ can now have another.
  • There are many more tabs. These are above the ‘Intro’ or ‘Details’ section. You can easily turn off the ones you aren’t using for now.
  • Most of the information that was in the ‘About’ panel on the left hand side of the page is in an ‘About’ tab. If you had information in the ‘About’ section that you wanted people to know about you might need to make a pinned post.
  • It is easier for people to see what other Pages your Council is ‘Following’. This information appears under the Page name which is beneath the Cover (banner) photo.
  • The username which would appear under the Cover (banner) photo is now gone, although your Page’s username, as it’s used to access the Page, is still in place.
  • Reviews and check-ins are much less prominent and are now in the tabs.
  • Page mentions now has a specific tab.

Changes to the back-end

The back-end changes are more significant. For the most part it just seems to be a change of where things are and the names of buttons and processes. However, If you have been using the old Page interface for a while it might take some time to get used to it. 

Before we look at the changes, please be aware that you will no longer be able to use a mobile browser to manage your Page. Management should only be possible through the dedicated mobile app or via a desktop browser.

Let’s take a quick look at the changes, once again in no particular order:

  • Switching and navigation between a public-facing Page and an individual profile has been made easier. This makes it less likely that you will accidentally ‘Follow’ or ‘post’ using the ‘wrong identity’.
  • Page news feeds are specific to that Page and are separate from your profile news feed..
  • It is easy to ‘Follow’ other Pages from your Council’s Page.
  • Page roles have gone. It is now called ‘Access Level’. If there are multiple people managing your account in various roles you might want to check this out as a priority.
  • You will need to use the Business Suite or Creator Studio to schedule posts.
  • If someone likes your classic Page, but does not follow it, they will not transfer to your new Page as a follower.
  • Manage Page has now been changed to a ‘Professional Dashboard’. It appears that many features are still there. It’s just they have been moved around or renamed. 
  • Many features relating to the management of the Page can be found by pressing the three little dots under the ‘Manage’ button. This is at the top right hand corner of your Page, just above ‘Posts’. To find the three buttons you will need to be logged into Facebook and have the right level of ‘Task Access’

Top tips following these Facebook Page changes

  1. Have a look at your Page to make sure nothing has gone missing in the transfer!
  2. Make sure the people you need to have access to your Page still have access.
  3. Review the Tabs and remove any you don’t need or aren’t using.
  4. Review what your Page is following.
  5. Explore the new professional dashboard and familiarise yourself with where everything is. Do this now so you don’t get flustered if you quickly need to do or change something in the future.

Once we have had a time to look through things in more detail we will provide further updates. If in the meantime if you have any questions about Facebook or social media please get in touch with us.